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April 9, 2018 2:30 PM, EDT
Capitol Agenda for the Week of April 9: Political Football
Rep. Joe Crowley, Fox News' Chris Wallace Crowley (left) with Wallace, by RepJoeCrowley via YouTube

The chances of advancing an infrastructure funding policy measure through Congress this year have worsened. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) emphasized on Fox News Sunday on April 8 the Democrats’ “Better Deal” includes an infrastructure vision quite different from that of President Donald Trump.

“What the president has offered a 20-80 plan, 20% from the federal, 80% from local governments, is not going to wash. It’s not going to work. What Democrats are proposing is really an 80-20 or 75-25 plan where the federal government comes up with the resources for 80% and works with local governments to put America back to work and invest in American infrastructure and invest in America,” Crowley told host Chris Wallace. “That’s jobs. That’s a bridge to the new economy. That’s giving people the opportunity to put their kids through college, to afford health care with a real job. That’s the kind of message the Democrats are talking about.”

Last month in Ohio, Trump shared a very different message about infrastructure. During a multithematic speech to union workers, the president blamed Democrats for treating his 10-year, $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal as a political football heading into the midterm elections. Trump made no mention that Republican leaders have yet to fully endorse a proposal that would rely heavily on nonfederal funds.

“I have asked Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together and deliver the biggest and boldest infrastructure plan in the last half-century,” the president said March 29. “We probably have to wait until after the election. Because the Democrats say, ‘Don’t give him any more wins. Don’t give him any more wins.’ ”

The party’s differences on the issue will be in full view April 12. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is scheduled to field questions from House funding leaders who likely will ask her to explain how the White House would like the Republican-led Congress to fund the requisite $200 billion to advance the proposal. That funding question is still being kicked around, much like a football.

WEEK AHEAD (All times EDT):

April 11, 9:30 a.m.: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hosts a hearing on rail infrastructure. Witnesses will include James M. Derwinski, CEO and executive director of the Metra Commuter Rail; John Fry, president of Drexel University; Stephen Gardner, executive vice president of Amtrak; and Ed Hamberger, CEO of the Association of American Railroads.

April 11, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee holds a roundtable titled, “Saving Taxpayer Dollars and the Federal Real Property Database.”

April 11, 2 p.m.: The House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee meets for an update on Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.

April 11, 4 p.m.: The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research meets for a discussion titled, “Is Hyperloop the Future of Transportation?” Speakers include Pete Rahn, secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation; Sebastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of TransPod Hyperloop; Bibop Gresta, chairman of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc.; Paul Stockton, managing director of Sonecon; Dane Egli, president and co-founder of Hyperloop Advanced Research Partnership; and R. Richard Geddes, visiting scholar at AEI.

April 12, 2 p.m.: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao testifies at the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

ELDs: Under gray skies on the cold morning of April 3, Sgt. Steve Vilbert of the Virginia State Police lay in wait on an Interstate 95 exit ramp ready to nab any truck driver who hadn’t installed an electronic logging device on his truck. Just two days after a soft-enforcement period for ELD usage had ended, history told Vilbert there could be some violators.

I ROBOT: There’s a new sheriff in town. It weighs 400 pounds and goes only 3 mph. But it seems to get the job done. And it doesn’t need a lightsaber. 

AMAZON: President Donald Trump said he will take a “very serious look” at Amazon and what he said is an “uneven playing field” the retailer enjoys against competitors. 

BUZZ:

D.J. Gribbin’s recent departure from his role as the White House’s infrastructure guru has left some in the transportation world wondering whether Larry Kudlow told him to step down, or if he found a big, fancy job elsewhere.

WHAT WE’RE READING:

An obituary for the Trump “Infrastructure Week.”

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Let me be very, very clear about this. When the president announced the addition $100 billion in tariffs, he also announced that he was directing Sonny Perdue, a great American and the Secretary of Agriculture, to immediately implement a plan to defend American farmers.

White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro on NBC’s Meet The Press, April 8

White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro

FAVORITE VIDEO:

It was all so simple then.

FAVORITE TWEET:

Unsung heroes.

Thanks for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.